Rajesh Rai | Gomtu

The control and management of Gomtu town in Samtse should be with dzongkhag and not with the Penden Cement Authority Limited (PCAL), town residents say.

The reason behind this is the poor infrastructure development.

Gomtu town is constructed on PCAL land. PCAL has given the land on lease. There are 21 buildings in the town that pays lease amount to PCAL. Development and maintenance work is PCAL’s responsibility, people said.

The town has no proper dumping place for garbage. Except for a few places, the core town does not have streetlights. The road is filled with potholes. There is also no proper drainage system.

Town’s secretary, Phurba Wangdi, said that there was a need to blacktop all the roads in the town.

A survey has already been carried out. PCAL should hand over the town area to the dzongkhag, residents said.

“For how long can PCAL keep the town under them?” One building owner, Tenzin Namgay, asked. “The town would be better under the dzongkhag municipal.”

Another resident said that Gomtu town has not changed a bit.

“There is no proper waste management,” she said. “Road needs an upgrade. The main town doesn’t have streetlights.”

She also said that Gomtu became dusty in the winter and muddy in summer.

PCAL management has maintained that the information about the streetlights, potholes and drainage system is not correct. Penden has been maintaining the general infrastructure in the town.

In 2019, PCAL’s CEO said the company carried out major maintenance of the streetlights, road and drainage system. “It may not be the best but it is much better than many other places,” he said.

Further, he said Phuentshopelri gewog administration would take up the resurfacing of the road this year, which would also cover the entire length of the road in the town. PCAL is also taking up the concreting of the road for heavy vehicles that runs behind the town, he added.

He said that Gomtu had a Thromde Tshogpa constituted with the support of the major industries in the town.

“The tshogpa has engaged a group of employees including a supervisor who are assigned for the housekeeping of the town area on a daily basis,” he said. “PCAL also engages a tractor for disposal of the garbage on a regular basis.”

The Queen’s Park, located at the heart of the town, is also maintained by PCAL, Tenzin said, explaining Penden management and employees carried out several cleaning activities within and surrounding the town area as part of the social activities. With support from the business community, PCAL is hopeful that Gomtu town will be well maintained, he said.

He said the decision to hand over the town area to dzongkhag would need the approval of PCAL shareholders.

“Until the proposal is clear, it is difficult to comment now,” he said.